Lucy in the Sky with Viral Marketing

Of all the surprising news over the past few days, it was the origin of the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” that caught me off guard. For nearly four decades I was convinced that the song was about the drug LSD.  Why? Because my friends, cool neighbors, all-knowing aunts and uncles,  older cousins and even my babysitter all corroborated the canard that the song was Lennon’s and McCartney’s tribute to psychedelic drugs.  While Lennon held claim that the song was not about LSD, McCartney stirred the pot by saying it was indeed.  I never, not once, heard of the other origin of the song — though like all great viral marketing, you might hear what you want to hear. The word of mouth was so strong that I not only believed in the “LSD version” of the song, but the scandalous nature of this information spread under the radar and over the hills of my white-picket-fenced Baltimore neighborhood and made me want to listen to the song all the more.  This was truly viral marketing at its best. Of course, as a grade schooler in the ’60s, Word of Mouth did not contain a capital W and M.  It was what it was — one person spreading information to the next, and so on and so on.  The truth about the song — based on John Lennon’s son Julian, 4 years old at the time, drawing  a picture of his classmate Lucy O’Donnell and telling his dad it was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – was revealed in the wake of Lucy’s premature death on Sept 29 from lupus. Perhaps it was serendipity that the initials of Lucy, Sky and Diamond matched LSD.  Either way, this blog entry is a tribute to the power of Word of Mouth Marketing: a legal drug for communicators world-wide.

— Diane Schwartz

  • Clay Morgan

    You are so correct. There is very little more powerful than a friend or someone you trust saying, “guess what I heard!”

  • Katie

    Word of Mouth is the best advertising any company could ask for. It gets people wanting to do what everyone else is talking about it. Especially coming from friends and family you want to be in the “in” on what the new hot topic is. Bloggers do a great job at viral marketing. People who read the blogs want to try what the bloggers are recommending, so they too can spread the news. I am a prime example of viral marketing because I have never heard “Lucy in the Sky of Diamonds” but now with everyone talking about it I will download it on iTunes just to listen to it.

  • Scott

    Just to clarify from a Beatles-geek perspective: John has told the story about the drawing consistently since at least the early ’70s, so – red herring though it may be – it was not a new revelation. Both versions are probably true.